09 April, 2015

H is for Hector.

Despite my family going back eight generations or so into the priesthood (hence Papageorge - Father George), this branch, my branch, are Hellenes and are no longer Christian, so all our names are from historical or mythological rather than biblical sources, so we go to lengths to find names outside of the box (or the book) so to speak.

There was a suggestion when my brother was born that he be named traditionally.  That is, as the first born son, named after the father's father which would've made him Cosmas Cosmas.  Not to put too fine a point on it, Dad thought that was a bit of overkill in the Cosmas department.  So another option was sought.   

He was eventually named after my Aunty Ethel's husband, Hector (not to be confused with Dad's childhood dog, who was also Hector).  The human Hectors were differentiated in the family as Big Hec and Little Hec.  And so they were.

* * *
When we watched Romper Room in the '70s, Hec always bemoaned the lack of Hectors amongst the abundant Jameses, Johns, Judys, Janes, Katies, Rachels, Rebeccas and yes, even the occasional Sophie in Miss Helena's Magic Mirror.  It was the first grave injustice of his life.

Miss Helena and the Magic Mirror on Romper Room

In fact, the only time Hector was ever represented in popular culture was in the form of "Hector the Road Safety Cat", who even in his prime, had a particularly, unfriendly, uncatlike voice and was very, very daggy.

Hector the Cat
You can watch the video!

Despite this, in fact, because of its rarity, Hector eventually grew very fond of his name: a noble prince, bravest Trojan warrior and favourite of his totem Apollo.  Not to mention (although I am) an instantly recognisable, one-namer: in the club with Madonna, Elvis, Cher, Sting, Bono, Twiggy, Liberace, Prince, Oprah...

And there he was also a contradiction, because unlike what his name has come to mean in contemporary terms, he was the person least likely ever to hector, badger or bully.  Instead, blessed with extraordinary wit and skill, he'd just scratch the very top of his tilted head with his middle finger and the diplomatic way forward would simply come to him... La!*

July 3, 1966 – March 8, 2012

*For example, as my companion at a raucous Hunters and Collectors gig in 1987 (was there any other kind?) where I was being buffeted quite violently, rather than telling a giant meat–axe he was standing on me and to back off and give me room, Hec very gently explained to the drunken giant that it was I who was standing UNDER his foot and would he please oblige by shifting ever so slightly so I could get myself out of his way?  And perhaps, as I was short, could I stand in front so I didn't bother him again.  And before you knew it, Hec was cracking jokes and making new friends.  And the M'Axes then protected us from the rest of the crowd for the remainder of the gig and bought me drinks, so I had a nice time.  Finesse.  That's what that was.  But it wasn't a con.  Hec was sincere.  He knew how to reach people.  And he did.



  1. romper room!! what a thrownack for thurs!
    i like the name hector, maybe i will find a place for him in a future book!

    1. As you can imagine, Tara, "Hector" is the most normal name in the world to me... it is noble and strong and good. Heroic. So I think that's the best idea you've had all day! xS

  2. Replies
    1. Phew. Thanks W. That was really really hard to write. Kept going off on tangents. One day I'll get it together to say all the things I have to say at the right time, in the right place in the right way... One day, over many days. xx

  3. I was always ripped off in the Romper Room mirror segment too, and any other things involving names.
    You have your Hec stories to tell, so don't worry about getting side-tracked. Just tell them as they come out.
    It's kind of ironic that so many of the memories i have been blogging about so fondly involve my brother. And sometimes only him, because as siblings we experienced some of those things very differently to the grown-ups. And he hasn't even come forward with a comment, not even a "ha ha yeah I remember that", not even a simple 'like' click on the blog links I post on Facebook. I bet Hec wouldn't have done that. Sorry if that sounds like a strange rant, but it just strikes me every time i read one of your posts involving an experience you and Hec shared.

    1. Sometimes I think they don't even realise what they mean to us. Hec didn't know what he meant to me. He never knew how important he was. And if I ever tried to tell him he would've brushed it off as some sort of emotional hyperbole. Our relationship was very much on his terms: when he had time, when he was around… In later years when we were thousands of miles apart we were closer. I do know I used to get really frustrated that he would make time for everyone except his family when he came to Australia. That was hard. He would be pulled in a million directions so we would be the ones who would have to understand and be sacrificed. There would always be next time, wouldn't there?